Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 2 Grantham Town

   Saturday 14/09/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

It´s lucky that there are two sides to every coin. If it weren´t so then there´d be massive confusion before the start of every football match. And just as lucky there are different sides to every story and even different ways of viewing those same sides. Sadly‚ probably due to our upbringing (brainwashing by parents and educators?) most of us enter the age of reason having had particular viewpoints ingrained in our minds‚ and it´s only when we come up against an unknown subject that we form our own opinions‚ though even then the media will be as manipulative as an osteopath on uppers. Tunnel vision has nothing to do with the ability to see a train coming from within a chasm‚ it´s more about the ability to exclude from awareness anything one doesn´t want to see. The fact that Benito Mussolini came from the Apennine village of Predappio does not make the five thousand odd residents of that settlement bad people‚ or cowards with four reverse and one forward gear in their cars. Not all Moslems are terrorists. Just because Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau-am- Inn does not make all residents of that Austrian Town evil. It is unfortunate then for the good folks of Grantham that their town has become known in the last few decades for just one thing. Because the nearest I have got to the Lincolnshire town in recent times was some six years ago when attending the notorious ´Battle of Spalding´‚ it would be wrong for me to comment on the place‚ particularly until the performance of their football team has had the opportunity to dislodged the other‚ admittedly jaundiced‚ association from my mind. Hopefully‚ if that performance is to be startlingly good‚ it would not be commencing just yet; certainly not until Tivvy had secured the three points that would keep them in contention for a return to the top of the table. And equally as hopefully that momentum would be maintained through another entertaining display of attacking football from the Yellows to override the dour grittiness of their two recent away displays.

Early signs were that we were going to see an improvement from the Yellows‚ though with home advantage that was to be expected. Both sets of players looked to be quite lively. As early as the second minute the visitors forced their way down their left and Luke Vinnicombe carried on where he left off on Monday evening as he hacked away a dangerous low cross. Town countered with a similar swift break‚ Antony Lynch beating the offside trap to chase down the right onto a long ball from the back. It was a race between the Tiverton No. 11 and Ziccardi in the Grantham goal which the keeper won and was able to shepherd the ball out for the goal kick. As the sides settled so too did the game‚ into a midfield battle with occasional forays forward by both teams but there were few chances being created. Town did construct one good move after 11 minutes working the ball out of defence‚ through the middle and then out to the right but when the cross came in Phil Everett came second to his marker who was able to calmly stroke the ball away back into the centre of the park. Indicative of the pattern of the game was the fact that it was not until quarter of an hour had been played before the crowd witnessed the first corner. Another break down their left by the visitors saw Jason Rees making an intercepting headed clearance past his own upright with Steve Collis looking well poised to take the cross. Tivvy had their best chance a minute later when another lightning break down the right by Lynch saw his cross met just beyond the far post by Danny Haines who had slid into the middle looking for some action after patrolling the wide open space of the left flank without getting a sniff of the ball for most of the game. Danny had to stretch to get his head to the ball but managed to direct it back across the goalmouth towards...well‚ no-one in a yellow shirt so Darren Dye cleared comfortably for the visitors. Another speculative forward move a couple of minutes later saw Tiverton awarded a free kick halfway inside the Grantham half. Rees lobbed it forward‚ Ziccardi collected and cleared upfield. No messing‚ route one tactics. Right through the middle to Jamie Clarke. Clarke bought the ball down‚ turned despite the attention of both Luke Vinnicombe and Rob Cousins‚ left the pair of them for dead as he powered past‚ and closed to the edge of the penalty area before blasting his shot past Collis; and his team into the lead. The same player could have doubled his tally two minutes later when again he was through but rushed his shot under pressure and placed it wide. For ten minutes or so the Yellows upped their game. Steve Winter began to create serious problems for the visitors down the right. First he found Everett´s head (yes‚ I know‚ it´s always just above his shoulders) but Ziccardi collected easily‚ and then after Phil had forced the keeper into palming the ball round the post for a corner‚ Scott Rogers flicked on a ´Wints´ cross that had the glovesman falling low to hold. Grantham‚ though‚ weathered the storm and gradually worked their way back into the hunt for more goals. In fact they began to dominate proceedings as Tiverton´s failure to pull themselves level seemed to affect their confidence. They lost shape‚ had trouble stringing more than two passes together and were pegged back into their own half apart from a couple of hopeful long balls. Everett was forced to lie deeper with Lynch being left to roam around up front like a hungry tiger just waiting to be thrown a scrap to feed on. Two more chances did fall to the Yellows before the break‚ one to Lynch whose shot from a difficult waist high Rees flick over the defence fell easily into Ziccardi´s arms and the second being poked off Everett´s toe by a defender. The difference between the teams as they retreated to the dressing rooms was simple - one well taken goal and a lot more enthusiasm and commitment.

The half time chat among the fans was not too despondent. They´d seen it all before‚ the quick burst where all the ´not quites´ suddenly became goals; where suddenly the things that weren´t working miraculously fell into place. So to see the Yellows pour forward as the second half open was no real surprise. It could have proved fatal as they looked like being caught on the break within minutes‚ but the first scoring opportunity fell to Phil from a Jason Rees cross - over the top. Five minutes in and it was that man Clarke causing the home fans palpitations again as once more his pace saw him head straight through the centre and unleash a fierce shot that Collis had to get both hands to to deflect over the top for a corner. If Tiverton were lacking shape it was further disrupted after 52 minutes. Luke Vinnicombe and Brendan McDaid went for a 50/50 ball‚ both connecting at the same moment. When something like that happens ´summats gotta give´. Usually it is the ball that squishes out from between the feet. On this occasion it was Luke´s ankle and he hit the deck in obvious agony. It was plainly serious and the stretcher was called. Steve Ovens was brought on as a replacement for Vinni and Everett did not drop back! Three up front‚ surely we´d see some effective attacks now? Yes‚ from the visitors! Gary Bull somehow wriggled his way between two defenders on the goal-line on the left and sent in a low‚ hard cross that flew across the goalmouth needing only the faintest of touches to have increased the margin. The charmed life for the Yellows goal continued in the 73rd minute when a cross by former Exeter City man Jason Minnett was firmly met by the head of McDaid‚ beating the diving Collis but flying back into play off the base of an upright. Bull met the rebound equally as surely but somehow Collis recovered to lift himself from the floor and leap up and back to touch the ball up and over his crossbar. Steve Ovens had added a little more life to the Tiverton attack but even he‚ when presented with a chance to break was forced wide. Too wide for a shot‚ Steve sent the ball into the six yard box where it appeared to be cleared away by a Grantham arm. The officials were not inclined to agree with the fans behind the goal and the game went on its way. Kevin Nancekivell replaced Lynch‚ Richard Pears replaced a tired looking Everett. It made little difference. Cousins cleared off the line from Minnett and Nancekivell flicked the ball over Ziccardi to see the same fate befall his effort. With six minutes remaining McDaid found himself in space 25 yards out as the ball was laid in to him following a throw on the left. One look and he lobbed in a shot that looped neatly past Collis´s outstretched left hand and the points were on their way to Lincolnshire.

Last Saturday´s effort at Moor Green was poor. This performance was‚ at best‚ lacklustre. In patches it had all the right components‚ they just weren´t being put together in the right combination and at times it looked as if the players were waiting for things to come right of their own accord instead of making the effort to sort it out themselves. Add this game to my already neatly avoided ´bad´ associations with the town of Grantham and I´m left praying that things will be different when we travel to them for the return fixture. I do like to have at least one good recollection of each of Tivvy´s opponents.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Danny Haines, 4. Luke Vinnicombe , 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. Paul Chenoweth, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Phil Everett , 10. Scott Rogers, 11. Antony Lynch .
Subs: 12. Kevin Nancekivell (Lynch,80), 14. Richard Pears (Everett,84), 15. Steve Ovens (Vinnicombe,57), 16. David Steele, GK. Paul Edwards.
Cards: Rees (Yellow,31).

Grantham Town: 1. Mario Ziccardi, 2. Steve Wenlock, 3. Darren Dye, 4. Brendan McDaid, 5. Danny George, 6. Ian Wilkins, 7. Jason Minnett, 8. Gary Bull, 9. Jamie Clarke, 10. Jim Neil, 11. Stuart Wilson.
Subs: 12. Mark Foster, 14. Chris Hall (Clarke,89), 15. Wayne Hallcro, 16. Dominic Hallows (Neil,86), 17. Lee Marshall.
Cards: Minnett (Yellow,40).

Referee: Tim Case (Bridgwater).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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